Friday, March 2, 2018

What's In My Bag? March 2018

Holy cow! February came and went so fast.

I've been busy as a bee with learning, planning, plotting, brainstorming, and creating that the entire month passed in a blur. I've got some really exciting offerings in the works, so stay tuned for that!

Anyway, let's see what I'm packing in my satchel for March.

This month is a little sparse because I'm mostly packing the essentials. I'm preparing for a major move, so everything that I'm not immediately using is getting packed up in boxes. Still, there's plenty of fun stuff for me to play with.

(from left to right)

Tarot de Marseilles, Conver 1760 (facsimile). This was my first tarot deck and forever my workhorse deck. I'm so comfortable reading with it; I trust it to give me sound answers and advice, and I trust it to guide my clients, too.

Pip decks used to scare me. I was 14 when I got this deck, and I had no idea why the guidebook seemed to choose meanings for the cards, as if the interpretations were pulled from the aether. Once I studied tarot in more depth and with more dedication as an adult, I decided to try my hand again with this deck. Yes, it took some studying and trust in my intuition, but I soon got the hang of it. And the rest, as they say in the cliche, is history.

Alice in Wonderland Schedule Book/Diary. Being as busy as I have been lately, I've really put a lot of my energy into diligently and precisely scheduling my time. On some days, I'd had as many as four engagements, and there was no way I was going to be able to keep everything straight without time-mapping it out well ahead of time.

Also, I've really been having a lot of fun scrap-booking and journalling in this! My ticket stub from the TENQ planetarium visit (see #TarotSpreadTuesday - The Cosmos Within Spread) and other stellar stickers found their way taped alongside paragraphs of minuscule handwriting. It's a really creative and enjoyable way for me to engage with my planner.

The Power of Myth. I'm going back to the heart of things in this transcript of a magnificent interview of mythologist, world literature scholar, and generally awesome human being Joseph Campbell, hosted by Bill Moyers.

I watched this interview in my (high school) sophomore advanced English class and remember being completely blown away by the encyclopedic knowledge Campbell possessed. His depth of knowledge about the stories, myths, legends, and traditions of so many diverse cultures all around the world (and I do mean ALL AROUND) was staggering. Now, I've got a written copy to enjoy at my leisure... and write all along the margins!

Traveller's Notebook (Midori). I usually keep my Midori on me, but last month, I wasn't doing all that much in it. This month, I know I've got lots of things that need to be written down, hashed out, noted, studied, and completed.

I have three notebooks in it. The first is my business notebook. In there, I write everything and anything that has to do with business. New spread ideas, blog ideas, video ideas (those are coming back once I'm settled from the move, I promise!). Sometimes new service options. I've got notes on the nitty-gritty of how my business interacts with my psycho-spiritual Self. So yeah. Everything.

Then, I have two study notebooks. The first is for my esoteric learning. Tarot, astrology, alchemy, herbalism, etc. The second is for my academic study. Lecture notes, conference notes, ideas and texts relevant to my research, etc.

Sailor Moon Pen. I have a 3-color clicky Frixion pen with Sailor Moon and the inner Sailor Scouts on it. Also, the key-chain resting inside my Midori is the Transformation Pen that Sailor Moon uses early on in the series.

Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards. As some of you may know, I'm not really an oracle person. For the most part, I just don't *get* them. Often I find that the image and the keyword or meaning are dissonant, and that just ruins things for me.

I got this deck in a trade and figured I'd give it a whirl. So far, I'm doing well with it, mostly because the symbology of the image and the animal are explained in a cultural context on the back. The interpretation makes sense because it's based on something a little more tangible than feeling. That works for me.

Wallet. Because I still need money...


I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of my life and what I hope to be getting up to this month! You'll be seeing the results of all these things reflected on the blog and shop in the near future.


#TarotSpreadTuesday - The Cosmos Within Spread

Hey, lovelies! I hope this week is going excellently for you!

For this spread, I was inspired by my visit to the TENQ planetarium here in Tokyo. There was a special exhibit featuring Sailor Moon that I definitely could not miss! The exhibit was done really well. The curators struck just the right balance between the Sailor Moon stories, the lore associated with the planets, and scientific information about each of the planets. Indeed, the latter two had a great impact on the details of the Sailor Moon universe.

As much as I enjoyed Sailor Moon there, I also had a blast in the rest of the planetarium. There were a lot of interactive exhibits, such as a mock-up Mars surface to stand on, and games, like a test to match your personality with one of the space satellite missions. On the walls and "play" areas, hypothetical questions and possible answers about the universe were written. It was just so inspiring!

And it all got me thinking about the universe and our place within it. I thought about humanity and what we're capable of--space travel being just a scratch on the surface of our potential.

Then, I inverted the question of our place in the universe: what about the universe inside us? So much goes on within us--some conscious, some not. Understanding the depths of our being is one step on the journey to unlocking our potential. It doesn't matter where on the journey this happens so long as you're willing to engage with your Self and learn from the wisdom it has to offer.

So let's explore that wondrous, magnificent, expanding cosmos within!

The Cosmos Within Spread

Spread Positions

  1. Earth. What grounds you? Where is your center?
  2. Sun. How do you shine? Ego.
  3. Moon. What are your needs? Unconscious.
  4. Planets. How do you move and transform?
  5. Stars. Your unique hopes and dreams.
    1. (a) What you have.
    2. (b) What you need.
    3. (c) How you get there.
  6. Galaxy. The culmination of your efforts to realize your dreams.
  7. Universe. How all the aspects of your Self can make you a more complete individual.

I sincerely hope you have a grand adventure through the magical space of your Self! You are the spaceship, the journey, and the destination all rolled up in one. I'm sure there's a TON to discover about the cosmic energies inside, and it will be quite the trip, I'm sure. No matter what, enjoy the ride!


Monday, February 19, 2018

#TarotSpreadTuesday Valentine's Day Edition

A few days late to the blog, but oh well! It's been on Instagram since Tuesday, so I don't feel like I'm cheating too badly.

Anyway! Valentine's Day. Love Day. Love Yourself Day. It's all one big, warm heart, wrapped in fuzzy blankets and a hug.

For this week, we've got a tarot spread double-feature. One spread is for examining a partnership (of any kind, not just romantic), and the other is a self-love spread. On Valentine's Day, we often think of showing our affection for others, and that's great. We should do that. But just as much so, we need to show ourselves love, too. In doing so, we naturally gain a greater ability to connect with others.

Valentine's Day: Relationship Spread

While this spread works wonderfully for romantic relationships, it can also be used to assess friendships, interpersonal relationships in the workplace, familial relationships, etc.

If you don't have a romantic partner *cough*likeme*cough*, don't get down or feel that you can't use this spread. There are lots of fun ways to use it!

Spread Positions

  1. Foundation of the relationship.
  2. Past. Something to let go of.
  3. What the relationship needs now.
  4. Future. Something to bring into the relationship.
  5. Your strengths as a partner.
  6. Your weaknesses as a partner.
  7. What you can teach your partner.
  8. Your partner's strengths as a partner.
  9. Your partner's weaknesses as a partner.
  10. What your partner can teach you.

Valentine's Day: Self-Love-Me Spread

This spread is for anyone at any stage in his/her life because we are all on our own self-love journeys. This spread is meant to help identify our relationship with self-love as a concept, our practice of it, and our expression of it in relation to others.

Self-love is about showing kindness to yourself. We often are so busy dealing with exterior issues, people, problems, work, etc. that we don't take the time to focus on our own needs and how to deal with those needs in a way that is positive, constructive, and generous to our spirits. There are so many toxic pressures in the world (e.g., comparison to others, negative self-talk, not believing we can do certain things, etc.), but we need to realize that we can break these negative habits. We can and should turn inward the love and grace we so often show to others.

Self-love is about forgiving yourself, accepting yourself, and acknowledging the bitter, fantastic journey that has gotten you to this point right now.

Spread Positions

  1. Self-Love Shadow. Why it's difficult (in your mind) to love yourself.
  2. Why you need to love yourself.
  3. What can help you love yourself.
  4. Practice Self-Love in Mind.
  5. Practice Self-Love in Body.
  6. Practice Self-Love in Spirit.
  7. How loving yourself helps others.
  8. How loving yourself will help you understand others better.
  9. What you can achieve in the world if you love yourself right *now*.

It is my sincere hope that these spreads inspire you to explore your relationships with yourself and with others.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

What's In My Bag? February 2018

Welcome to "What's In My Bag," your behind-the-scenes glimpse into what I get up to each month.

Inside my vintage leather satchel (I've nicknamed it my "PhD satchel" because I totally look like a proper grad student with it), I carry books that I'm reading, tarot decks I plan to use on-the-go, and anything else that I think I'll need on a daily basis.

Let's take a look!

Something of an eclectic selection, I suppose!

(From left to right)

"Time-Space Traveler" Magazine. This magazine is a monthly digest with different subjects (and thus different names) each month. This time, it happens to be about all different forms of divination throughout the world!

The magazine focuses not only on what forms of divination there are but also the history of those divination systems. Besides tarot, divination systems such as rune-reading, palmistry (both Western and Eastern), prophetic dreams, Feng Sui, aura reading, and MUCH more are described to a degree of depth that readers can get a pretty good idea of what's going on and how to get into it.

I found this completely by chance today at the convenience store where I always buy bottled water for spin class. The tarot cards on the front drew my attention straight away, and before I knew it, the magazine ended up in my bag (after I paid for it, of course)!

Medieval Scapini Tarot. This is a tarot I got in a trade back in December but haven't had the time to really use as much as I wanted to.

A cross between the Visconti-Sforza (in terms of visual style) and RWS (in terms of scenic Minors), this deck is really appealing and easy to read with. I'm looking forward to working with it more this month!

Polka Dot Reusable Bag. I never leave home without at least one of these foldable bags in my bag. (Bag-ception!) Besides groceries, I carry any and all purchases that don't fit neatly into my satchel in it.

Schedule Book/Diary. I can't gush enough about how much I love my "Alice in Wonderland" schedule book/diary! I can keep track of everything I need to do on a monthly and weekly level, and I have pages to write on, draw on, collage on, and (my favorite) scrapbook on.

I like to use washi tape to affix movie ticket stubs and cards onto the blank page across from each weekly schedule page. And I journal all of my new moon and full moon tarot readings in it.

Wallet. (The red thing at the bottom-ish.) Well, this is quite clearly a staple in my satchel because... everything. I need my ID cards, railway pass, cash/credit cards, etc. I've also got a lot of point-cards in there, so I get freebies for shopping!

"The Art of Chart Interpretation" by Tracy Marks. This is quite simply the best astrology book I can recommend to anyone. While it is an advanced book, foregoing the meanings and interpretations of the planets, signs, and houses (the author assumes one already knows those well enough before picking up the book), the true strength of "The Art of Chart Interpretation" lies in the author's ability to cogently and accessibly describe larger patterns the astrology practitioner should look for, as well as their interpretations, in order to synthesize the chart as a whole.

Marks states up front that it's all too easy to get bogged down in the minute details of a natal chart, and this book seeks to guide readers to look for significant and stand-out patterns that are important to the sitter/client and his/her personality, goals, and personal power.

Morgan-Greer Tarot in a Tin. I just love that this deck is in a tin. Because it is so well protected, this deck survived a MASSIVE typhoon that I got stuck in for two days... outside. (My other deck wasn't so lucky. RIP.)

I whip this out when a friend wants some tarot advice, when a stranger wants tarot advice, when I want tarot advice... you get where this is going. I've read with this deck in bars, hot springs, movie theaters, railway stations, and all manner of places in between.

It's a deck I'm comfortable reading with because the imagery is basically a stylized RWS, which is a deck I'm intimately familiar with. I don't mind the bright colors and I really like that the deck is borderless. Plus, it's a great travel size!


I hope this has been a fun foray into my world! Come back next month to see what's changed and what I'm still working with!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What Happened to Me for the Last 6 Months?!


What the hell happened that six months passed without a peep from me?

Well, the first and easiest excuse is that I've been working relentlessly on finishing my MA thesis. It had to be written entirely in Japanese, which was a process. Lots of rewrites and corrections to make.

Second, I was writing and submitting PhD applications. Because of the caliber of schools to which I applied, I was under immense pressure to perfect each application to the best of my ability. I didn't have much help on those either, so it was like groping around in the dark, hoping to resonate with the admissions officers.

On top of that, my general environment is stressful -- what with living in a socially, er, problematic country, and I've always put a lot of pressure on myself. A bad combination. It led to a serious deterioration of my physical health in the autumn, and I was out of commission for a week. My mental health didn't prove much better, but I've come out of things alright in the end.

Anyway! I'm hoping to get off my butt and really be consistent this year, as much as I can be. I've got a few weekly/monthly goals lined up, though, which should keep me on track.

  • 1st of every month: What's in My Bag? This is meant to give you a special look at what I carry around with me every day, especially relating to what esoteric stuff I stash in the deep recesses of my satchel.
  • 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month: Tarot Spread Tuesday. It's back! I decided on a schedule and creative method that really works for me, so I can maintain the pace and practice on a more realistic level.
  • Every Friday: Blog Post. I don't know what they'll be about exactly, but I'm going to try to expound on each subject in a way that, I hope, will shed more light on the human condition, how we interact with the world around us, and (of course) how the tarot can guide us through those aspects and processes.

By the way, the two Tarot Spread Tuesday spreads for January can be found on my Instagram page, @cardsandcups

I hope to see you all around more often!

Blessings! <3